Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Terrier That Wouldn't Eat: Ani's Story

by Louis Liem

Long time ago, when I was still living in a small town, I used to have a dog named Ani (my dad gave her that name). She was a black terrier who always got excited each time she saw me or other members of the family coming through the front door.


Before Ani, I also had a larger dog breed, a Doberman who guarded my dad’s poultry farm. There’s not much I  remember about the Doberman except that he was a friendly dog.

I had great times with Ani every morning as I and my dad took her for a morning jog.

When the time came for me to go to school, she would ride with me and my dad in the car. Lunch times were my favourite since I could pour the home-made dog food into Ani’s dish and watch her eat.

Then, one day, Ani wouldn’t eat anything. 

I asked my dad why she hadn’t eaten but my dad didn’t know the answer. Ani refused to eat for several days and since I was just a little boy, I could only wait for her to get well.

One afternoon, my dad gave Ani a dish of milk. He probably thought that Ani couldn’t digest solid food. However, Ani didn’t touch the milk at all and was just lying near the dish.

The next morning, my dad found that Ani had died.

She was buried in our front yard. I can still remember how she was laid down and covered with soil.

To this day I wonder why Ani wouldn’t eat.

I researched causes of why a terrier like Ani wouldn’t eat and list some of the treatments available. So here’s for the other “Ani” owners around the world.

1. Your terrier is just picky with their food.

Like people, terriers may have preferences when it comes to food. If your dog is not sick, it may just prefer another food type. If you are a keen observer, you will notice that some dogs prefer certain brands of dog food. In some cases, dogs have a preference for wet or dry foods.

If you recently changed your dog’s diet from one brand to another, this could account for why your pet is not eating. When you’re planning to change diets, make sure to do it gradually.

2. Your terrier is sick.

Similar to humans, when terriers are sick, the tendency is to eat less. After all, when you feel bad, chances are you will not eat much. If you suspect that your pet is coming down with something and he or she refuses to eat for a day or so, seek the help of your veterinarian.

Never ignore change in your dog's appetite, this can have serious consequences! Some of the reasons why dogs loose their appetite are very serious and even life threatening!

3. Toothaches and oral wounds

As with people, oral pain can cause a decrease in appetite in dogs. As long as you can do so safely, take a look in your dog’s mouth.  If you see tartar, gingivitis, a broken tooth, or a wound, or if you smell a foul odor, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

There are a lot of possible reasons why terriers won’t eat. 

Just because they’re small, does not mean that they should pick at their food.

Some dogs may be objecting to a change in their diet, while others could have health problems. The best solution is to provide a suitable treatment right away.

If your terrier suddenly eats less than usual, consult your veterinarian.


This article was written by Louis Liem. Louis' passion for living creatures, especially dogs, led him to blog on AtoZDogBreed.com. Find how you can better understand your dog, provide better diet, training, treatment and grooming your dog as well as lots of other dog related tips on his blog.


  1. I have a 9 month old german shepard . he is not really eating unless i mix treats in and then it wont be much... Can he have new teeth comming in? would this cause this ..hes active , drinking water everything else is the same but his eating .

    1. I would assume that is a bit old for that? Does he have his new teeth or does he still have puppy teeth?

      Depending on the breed of dog and his size, most puppies start to lose their baby teeth at 4 months, but some can begin as early as 3 months and some may not begin to lose them until they're 6 months or older. By the time a puppy is 7 to 8 months old, they should have a full set of adult teeth.

      You could try soft food if that makes any difference but I'd recommend a vet check-up to see what is going on there.